A newly unearthed essay by Winston Churchill shows Britain's wartime leader was uncannily prescient about the possibility of alien life on planets orbiting stars other than the Sun. The 11-page article was drafted on the eve of World War Two in 1939 and updated in the 1950s, decades before astronomers discovered the first extrasolar planets in the 1990s. Yet Churchill pinpointed issues dominating today's debate about extraterrestrial life, proving that the former prime minister "reasoned like a scientist", according to an analysis of his work published in the journal Nature on Wednesday. The hunt for life on other worlds has taken off in the last 20 years as observations have suggested the Milky Way alone may contain more than a billion Earth-size planets that could be habitable. Churchill was already thinking along similar lines nearly 80 years ago, writing that "with hundreds of thousands of nebulae, each containing thousands of millions of suns, the odds are enormous that there m...

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